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Tinton Falls Spotlight Corner

Introducing Risa Clay: A Story of Leadership and Service

Risa PhotoRisa Clay's journey from educator to mentor and now Council President is nothing short of extraordinary. Overcoming a vocal cord disorder, she has risen to a significant role on the Borough Council, embodying resilience and intelligence. The Borough of Tinton Falls proudly shares her story and the invaluable contributions she makes to our community.

For over a decade, Risa has been a trailblazer in educational leadership, leaving an indelible mark on Red Bank Regional High School. As Principal, she demonstrated an unwavering commitment to enhancing each student's academic experience. Her responsibilities included supervising curriculum and instruction, managing personnel issues, and fostering a positive work environment. Notably, her adept resolution of parent and student concerns showcased her dedication to open communication. One of her most significant achievements was successfully implementing a school-based program for clinical case management, an exemplification of her passion for the overall development of her students’ well-being.

Among Risa Clay's numerous accomplishments, she transitioned Red Bank Regional High School to a block schedule, enhancing formalized instruction. She was instrumental in securing a million-dollar Small Learning Communities grant. These endeavors involved re-application, budget management, program development, and seamless communication with students, staff, and parents, all of which she handled with ease and precision. Under her leadership, the English Language Learner (ELL) department thrived, along with the development of its scholarship program. Her initiatives extended nationally with the school-based Youth Service Program, earning recognition and setting a model for the State of New Jersey by revamping the district's ESL/Bilingual program.

Clay's dedication to leadership extends beyond school walls. One of her community initiatives included partnering with a local high school student to establish “Companeros de Comida”, a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status, dedicated to helping families in need during the Covid-19 pandemic. She also served as co-leader of the district crisis response team and contributed to various educational conferences.

Upon retirement, Risa chose to serve her community further. In 2019, she ran for the office of Council and was elected, assuming office on Jan 1, 2020. Subsequently, she assumed the title of Council President. Her journey is not without struggle, as she was diagnosed with Dysphonia, a neurological condition affecting the vocal cords, resulting in chronic hoarseness. However, this did not deter her efforts. She serves as the liaison for the Tinton Falls Board of Education and continues to work tirelessly to represent her constituents. When asked about her most significant role thus far, Risa humbly responded, "a Mom and Gigi."

The Borough of Tinton Falls takes pride in having one of its finest advocating for the best interests of its residents. We invite you to witness Risa Clay in action at the next council meeting.

To learn more about Risa Clay and Dysphonia, visit:
www.nj.com/monmouth/2024/01/she-has-trouble-speaking-but-this-nj-councilwoman-has-found-her-voice.html